Local search ranking factors in 2013

If you’re not sure what local search ranking factors are don’t worry, as we will not only explain what they are but how you can use them to increase the online visibility of your business or your clients business if you are an SEO.

The basics
It is very easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer number of different factors, which is why we will break it down into easy to understand sections, which will hopefully give you as much information to use as possible.

Some of the most important factors to take into account when trying to increase local business rankings are proximity to the users location, appropriate keywords in the title and address & phone number. As you have probably guessed, having an accurate address is a must otherwise there is no way to place your business. The phone number helps to strengthen the position, as long as it is a local number. It is thought that 0800 numbers and other non-local numbers do not help to strengthen the businesses location, so where possible get your business a local number, even if it’s only for use here.

Make sure that you have chosen the most relevant category associations, as this will help Google associate your business with the correct trade, service or product. Failing to complete this simple part will directly affect your position, as it makes it harder to identify your business as relevant. The domain authority of your websites page is also important here, as it will show Google that your website has value and is worthy of receiving visits, mainly because you have great content that people will enjoy viewing and even sharing. This means that you will have more of an advantage compared to businesses that have a low or non-existent domain authority. It is also vital that you make sure that your places page is confirmed and verified by receiving an authorization code via the phone number you have submitted or in direct mail using the business address that you have submitted to your page. This is one of the most vital, as delivery of the code ensures that you are actually at that address and are a genuine local business. This helps to prevent spam and false businesses taking up space on local listings while directing users elsewhere.

Once your page is up and running, you will need to strengthen your position. Unfortunately, it is mostly out of your hands as some power will be given by independent reviews by those you have used your business in person. It won’t just be reviews placed on Google either but from verified review centres, which will help Google to determine your power. It is obviously much better to have more positive reviews than negative ones but there is nothing to stop individuals performing negative SEO by submitting fake negative reviews, which will of course damage the image and reputation of your business. Thankfully this isn’t easy to do, so you shouldn’t have to worry about that too much but always keep an eye on the reviews you are getting by checking review sites where possible.

Keep away from keyword stuffing, as this will have a negative effect on your profile and make it look unnatural and basically annoying to those who are viewing it. There’s no need to do it, so just stick to your business name and stay natural when writing content for your listing and website, as this will get the highest value and will look attractive to the general user, helping to encourage them to visit your website, and then your business.

Make sure that you add a description of your business where possible and explain what you do or what you offer as in depth as you can. This may depend on how many characters you are allowed to put but make sure that you don’t end up writing an essay. That said, there’s no need to stop at one sentence and Google with pick up on any keywords that you mention but remember, don’t stuff as many keywords in as you can think of, as this will only have negative effects.

We’re sure that you will find this info helpful in your local ranking campaign and if you would like any further advice on this, please feel free to contact us and we will be happy to help. Remember that there are many different ways to interpret and use local search ranking factors, as relevance for each will depend on the type of business you’re trying to promote. When in doubt, always consult a professional.

Author Gyles Seward

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